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Run Oregon Road Trip to Maui and the Fairmont Kea Lani

Run Oregon loves running – that’s no surprise. But we also love the Pacific Northwest and all that it has to offer. Running is a part of us, but it does not fully define us. In our new “Run Oregon Road Trip” feature, we aim to showcase some great local non-running events and highlight where to run and how to make the most of your experience!

My wife and I recently got back from a child-less excursion to one of our favorite places to rejuvenate ourselves – Maui. We opted to stay in the Kihei area and were thrilled to connect with the amazing Fairmont Kea Lani for a few nights.

Room with a view

First the Running:

With each trip to Maui, I aim to run in some new spots. I knocked a few off of my to-do list during this trip, and found another that was perfect – courtesy of Fairmont.

The first to-do run was the Lahaina-Pali trail, a route I have wanted to tackle since my first trip to the island. It’s about a 9-mile RT trail run that takes you from near Maalaea, up and into the hills, underneath the huge wildmill generators on the south side of the island. It ends just off Highway 30 just before the Pāpalaua Beach Park. I highly recommend doing this, but understand that it’s more of a jog-hike than it is a run. The trails are packed with large boulders the majority of the way, and there are some solidly steep sections. Looking back at things, I actually recommend making the pinnacle at the windmills the turnaround point, as I didn’t find the western portion of the trail all that necessary.

I also got a nice road run in on the paved trail along the Mokulele Highway. You can run all the way from Kihei to Kahului on this path. It’s not the most immediately scenic (it is along a highway), but it is a nice wide path with great views of the West Maui mountains. It’s also great as it’s a long and continuous path that doesn’t necessitate you jostling for room with pedestrians or cars – something which happens a lot with road running on the island. Just as an FYI, running northbound from Kihei will have you running more uphill at the beginning (though the gain is minute) and heading southbound back into Kihei is downhill.

If you are looking to run with some local running groups, make sure you check in with the Valley Isle Road Runners. VIRR was founded in 1970 and has grown to over 700 members. They sponsor 7 island events and have Wednesday evening group runs at 530pm in Kihei. During our stay, my wife and I spent Global Running Day at Lululemon at Whaler’s Village, where a joint group run event from VIRR and Lulu took place around Wailea. It was a great time!

Here’s some info from a previous post:

I would recommend utilizing this website when planning your racing calendar in Maui. I am going to assume most people are vaguely familiar with the two most popular events on the Island – the Maui Oceanfront Marathon in January and the Maui Marathon in October. There are other cool races as well such as September’s Hana Relay, and the holiday-themed Run of Love 5k, Turkey Trot, and Christmas 5k. In fact, even over the past 2-3 years, I have noticed a big uptick in the number of races on the island – though things are a little more thin in the summer months.

Fairmont Running Guide – a great idea!

As I mentioned a few paragraphs back, the Fairmont had a fantastic pocket-sized running guide in the room that highlighted three different distances and routes that could be accomplished from their property. I followed along with their out-and-back 5k route along the Wailea Beach Trail, but then extended it a little further to add some extra miles. I recommend running the beach trail early in the morning to avoid significant congestion. It’s a beautiful run (and great spot for a leisurely walk) nonetheless.

Near the start of the Wailea Beach trail near the Fairmont
Near the turnaround point on the 5k route
Beyond the 5k route – near the Ulua Beach Park
Nothing beats quiet beach running
Sunrise run along the Wailea Beach Path

The Resort:

Now onto the lodging. As mentioned, this property is absolutely incredible. I don’t know how to fully explain it, and no words will really do it justice. It’s just a super-welcoming and beautifully decorated resort. It is also an all-suite and villa resort with tons of oceanfront rooms, making it perfect for groups who need a little more space, or for those who want unparalleled views of the ocean.

Upon check-in, we were greeted with smiles and given leis and tropical drinks to welcome us. The landscape and lay out of the property were described to us in detail and we truly felt it was genuine when they said to contact them with any questions. As we had briefly been to the property for a spa treatment last time, we weren’t completely foreign to the landscape, but we appreciated the tutorial nonetheless.

The resort has essentially anything you are looking for, right on property. From numerous restaurants and shopping stores, you don’t really have to go anywhere if you don’t want to. I will talk a little bit more about some specifics below, but just know that this supurbly-manicured property is stunning no matter where you are wandering around.

The Room:

We were generously upgraded to an oceanview suite, and were blown away. Clearly, this is a more expensive option, but if you are looking for a room with a view, you certainly can’t beat this view from the lanai.

Upon entering the room, we were pretty blown away with the amenities. The room started with a small kitchenette/bar which had a nice welcome note, local snacks, and Maui Brewing beer to try out. I mean, I’m sold right there!

Further into the room was a very spacious living room area with large TV (that I’m not sure we turned on the entire time we were there – not with that view and the beach a stone’s throw away). However if we were travelling with kids, this would be a great chill out area for the kiddos.

Speaking of kids, the fact that there is a fold-out bed within the couch in the main living area is a nice addition. Not only is it large enough for a couple kids, it is also in a completely seperate space from the main bedroom, with a door in between. After a day of swimming, beaching, and “Maui-ing”, everyone needs a little decompression away from each other. And there are two different doors to the bathroom – one from the living room and the other from the bedroom – so each area can access it without infringing on the other’s space to get there.

The main sleeping portion of the suite is an understated luxury. The real luxury is the bed – it’s ridiculously comfortable. And after 5 days of struggling through a below average condo bed, it was even better.

And laying in bed and looking out at the beach during the day, and during the sunsets, really made for a memorable experience.

I won’t spend too much time talking about a bathroom, aside from the fact that it was super huge – complete with a full bath and shower, as well as two sinks. The toilet had it’s own area, allowing for usage of the bathroom at the same time.

Again, not to keep repeating myself, but this room was top notch – a welcoming yet luxurious spot with everything we could have asked for.

Refueling:

There are a few ways to talk about “refueling”. Generally, I would talk about food options on site, and there are multiple restaurants to enjoy on site with over 90% of their produce coming locally from the island. If you are traveling with kids, they can eat free (under 5) or for 50% off (under 12). We also ended up finding and sort of falling in love with their new MAKANA Market + Cafe. This was perfect for eating when we weren’t necessarily in the mood for a full sit-down meal. They had numerous local coffees, but also served more cafe-type food options like pastries, sandwiches, and a poke bar with locally-harvested fish. They could make them fresh, or if we were ready to go exploring off-property, they had grab and go options. They also sold different kinds of beers (aside from the standard Maui Brewing and mass-produced beer at the restaurants) and I even picked up a bottle from Breakside to enjoy in the room. They also had wine and spirits options for purchase, as well as locally crafted goods like jewelry, soap, and apparel. It was basically a one-stop-shop for everything. It’s also nice to know that if you have dietary restrictions or desires, they are really accommodating on that front.

The other end of the word “refueling” is, to me, sort of a mental rejuvenation. Part of the reason most of us make the trek to Hawaii is to take some time away from the hustle and bustle of “real life”. We all need some time to unwind, not answer phone calls and emails, and just relax. I wholeheartedly agree with this and there is hardly a better place to mental recharge than Kea Lani. They have relaxing down to a science, and really everything is catered to making things as simple as possible.

Want to lay in the sand? They have their own private beach with beach chairs, umbrellas, and towels – as well as the ability to check out snorkel equipment and body boards. As I mentioned in my previous post, this “…really cuts back on the need to continually travel around, find parking, lug out beach chairs, navigate other beach-goers and find a spot to set up. Just walk down to the sand, grab a towel from the concierge, and soak in the sun and waves. Shoot, you could even forego the need for a car, use a Lyft to get to-and-from the airport (and Maui Brewing Company – my staple recommendation), and just hang out on the 22-acre property all day.”

If ocean water and waves aren’t your thing, there are also three pools on site, one with a swim up bar, one perfect for kids (with a water slide), and a quieter adults-only pool. As a family, we would have typically spent our days at the “fun” pool, but since we were just a couple, we opted for the quieter ones. Regardless of which pool you go to, there are ample opportunities to get some pool-side chairs or spread out a little more at some areas in the grass. And since the pools are open 24/7, you can easily get a nice early morning swim in without much issue.

Adults-only pool

On our last full day at the resort, we spent the day in a poolside cabana, which was just an absolute thrill. We had a covered area the entire day and could come and go as we pleased. We were allotted a cooler full of bottled water, juices, and sodas, as well as a sampler of Maui fresh fruit, mochi ice cream, and Hawaiian Trail mix. We also had a service attendant who would check in on us and who we could order other food and drinks and have them delivered directly to us (meals were not included in the rental). These cabanas run about $200/day, and though we were graciously gifted the experience, I honestly think it would actually be worth that amount.

Overall:

My wife and I came to the conclusion that this may be the nicest hotel we ever stay at. It is absolutely a 5-star resort for a reason. Everything they do feels top-notch, yet somehow without feeling pretentious at the same time. My wife and I are more suburban than anything fancy, so fancy experiences sometimes showcases our awkwardness in this realm. However, everyone treated us with amazing courtesy and down-to-earthedness, that it just made us feel at home. We received text messages from the concierge checking in on us throughout our stay and they really went out of their way to make us feel special.

We are still talking about our experience weeks later, and I anticipate it will be on our minds for quite some time. Our rooms were clean and comfortable, everyone was super friendly, and it was almost like another paradise within the Hawaiian paradise surrounding us. The investment to stay here is significant, but man- I feel it’s worth it. I didn’t expect being able to say that up front, but if you can swing it, or do some saving up for an experience unlike any other, I would absolutely recommend you do so!

Paradise withing a paradise

Fairmont Kea Lani Details:

Address: 4100 Wailea Alanui Drive Wailea, Maui, Hawaii 96753

Phone: 1-866-540 4456

Email: info@kealani.com

*More about the Fairmont Kea Lani

Imagine an island oasis where bright blue skies, a shimmering golden sand beach and an abundance of tropical blooms create a lush vibrant retreat for all. Fairmont Kea Lani is this very special place, and we look forward to welcoming you with aloha to our oceanfront paradise. Experience the Hawaii vacation of your dreams on Maui’s coveted Wailea coast at our all-suite and villa luxury resort and spa.

From sunrise to sunset, Fairmont Kea Lani is the place to be. Awaken refreshed in your spacious one-bedroom suite or luxury beach villa to a picture perfect Maui morning. Linger on your private lanai to appreciate the beauty that surrounds you, eagerly anticipating the incredible day ahead.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uek0hsSHbB0

 

Many thanks to the Fairmont Kea Lani for allowing us to check out their property for a few days on a media rate and a complimentary cabana rental. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.

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About Matt Rasmussen (1432 Articles)
Matt Rasmussen lives in Keizer, Ore. with his wife and three daughters. He enjoys watching the Olympics, sampling craft beers, and all things Canada (he was born there). Matt was raised as a baseball player and officially transitioned over to running in 2010. Matt joined the Run Oregon team in October 2011, and since then he has spearheaded the blog’s efforts to cover product reviews, news about businesses related to running, and running events in the Willamette Valley.

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